Buy A Home
Buying a home is a big decision – perhaps one of the biggest in your life. Your first house can be a place you call home for years to come, and it’s a long-term investment of your time and finances. That’s why it’s important to weigh all of the aspects of homeowning in advance.
Here are some factors to consider before beginning your homebuying process.
Your first home is a much bigger investment than signing a rental lease. It’s a place you’ll return to after work, where you’ll make meals and maybe raise children – and location affects your quality of life.
Consider these steps when you’re thinking about the homebuying process as a first-time owner:
- Take a visit – or three: Will you want the same scenery in six months or six years? Will the property match your family’s evolving interests and needs? Before you buy, walk around and spend some quality time in the locations you’re considering to be sure the location feels right.
- Examine the surroundings: How walkable is the neighborhood? What are the demographics? Do you feel safe there? Is the area booming or in decline?
- Evaluate access: Don’t forget that you’ll have to get in and out of your home easily and conveniently. Is there a subway, bus or other public transit system nearby? How far is the property from the nearest airport or major city? How accessible are the roads leading to it? Will traffic complicate commuting or running errands?
After you have selected a location – or a few top contenders – for your first home, start examining the financial aspect of owning a home:
- Compare owning to renting: Will owning your own home be less expensive than renting? Will you be able to afford the home and its ongoing expenses into the future? To find out, analyze your expenses in this area over the past several years and do some research to project what these expenses might look like in the years ahead.
- Check your budget: Can you truly afford property in the area? Are there local taxes or service charges? Could you find a less expensive property in an adjacent neighborhood? Consider how periodic and occasional expenses such as mortgage insurance and maintenance will affect your income and budgets.
- Calculate the complications: Buying a home can alter your financial situation, from tax reporting to credit and beyond. Try to get a complete picture of the financial impacts of homeowning, and make sure you’re comfortable with the changes.